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What if you witnessed a crime but couldn’t remember…?

October 19, 2016

‘The girl on the train’ by Paula Hawkins is suspense fiction that will keep you guessing til the end.  Written in a similar style to ‘Gone Girl’, with flashbacks between past and present, the plotline was peppered with red herrings all the way through.

Rachel is a woman who spends her days travelling back and forth on the train, pretending to go to work, so that her landlady doesn’t discover that she is jobless.  She spends her days in an alcoholic haze, trying to get over the loss of her marriage two years ago.  Her only entertainment is imagining the lives of the people she sees from the train, and in particular, a couple she calls Jess and Jason.  From her view into the back of the house, she has only ever witnessed loving exchanges until the day she see’s Jess kissing another man in the garden.

Soon after, Rachel reads in the newspaper that Megan (Jess) has been missing for a week, and her husband Scott (Jason) is distraught. She tells the police about the other man but he is dismissed as a suspect, so Rachel decides to investigate on her own. She worms her way into both men’s lives, only to discover that things are not what they seemed.

In the meantime, she is constantly plagued by alcoholic blackouts where she can’t remember what has happened. One of these occurred on the night that Megan disappeared, and Rachel knows that she witnessed something important but what? To complicate things, her ex-husband and his new wife (who live nearby Megan and Scott) are threatening to report her to the police for harassment, and she really doesn’t know what is real and what is imagined.

Throughout the novel, the author manipulates the reader’s emotions  by constantly switching up points of view so that you aren’t quite sure who to root for – is Rachel a good person or not? Did she actually see something or not?  You’ll have to read it to find out…. 

 

– Natalie

 

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